3rd Infantry Battalion Commemorates Centenary Handover of Kilkenny Barracks
Photos by John O’Byrne
100 years ago on 7 February 1922, an enthusiastic crowd watched Commandant G. O’Dwyer lead a detachment of Irish Republican Army, accompanied by a band, from St. James’s Park to the military barracks in Kilkenny. The remaining Royal Artillery unit had left the barracks quietly the previous morning. The barracks is today home to the 3rd Infantry Battalion, Irish Defence Forces, and is named after James Stephens. On Sunday a company of 3rd Infantry Battalion, accompanied by the Band of No. 1 Brigade, marched from Kilkenny Castle to James Stephens Barracks in the footsteps of those 100 years ago.
As part of the centenary, Officer Commanding 3rd Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Declan Crummey invited members of the public to an open day in the barracks yesterday, which included live music from St. Patrick’s Brass Band (whose members played for the handover ceremony a century ago), a weapons and vehicles display, and military heritage stalls which included the Lord Edward’s Own Living history group. The Lord Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Andrew McGuinness and Cathaoirleach Cllr Fidelis Doherty were also in attendance in honour of Mayor Peter De Loughry, who delivered the oration a century ago.
The Irish Independent on 7 February 1922, reported that: ‘Three special trains from Kilkenny brought the 11th and 146th Batteries of R.F.A. [Royal Field Artillery], which left the North Wall for Catterick and numbered 216 officers and men. They took 6 18-pounder guns and 0 4.5 howitzers with them.
During the same week in 1922, Royal Irish Constabulary continued their withdrawal around the county along with British military units. These included: The Cheshire Regiment vacated its Headquarters at Wicklow Jail, the Dublin Fusiliers from Naas, the 1s Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers from Carlow, the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps vacated Clones Workhouse, while in Waterford the 1st Devon Regiment, stationed at Waterford military barracks, boarded the SS Great Southern for Devonport. The 2nd Battalion Cameron Highlanders, stationed at Belmont Huts, Cobh, Co. Cork, left for Aldershot. Their quarters were temporarily occupied by thy North Stafford Regiment from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, while Royal Air Force detachments also left Baldonnel.